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Just in time for Election Day de-stressing…puppies and kittens!

By Mark Saal - | Nov 8, 2016

Deep, cleansing breaths, everyone.

Now that Election Day is all over us like Miss Universe on a day-old doughnut, it’s time for a little strategically timed distraction in the form of …

… adorable puppies and kitties!

That’s right, long-suffering voter. Just as the post-election buyer’s remorse is about to set in, we here at the Standard-Examiner offer you our “Cute and Cuddly Column.”

Research has long shown the benefits of owning — or even simply interacting with — pets. Among the findings:

  • People with pets have lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  • Petting a dog can lower your blood pressure, thus reducing the likelihood of heart attack or stroke.
  • Over a 10-year period, cat owners were 30 percent less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-cat owners.
  • If you have a heart attack and you own a dog, you are much more likely to be alive a year later.
  • Pets can ease chronic pain, with pet owners using less pain medication than non-pet owners.
  • Military veterans with pets show decreased suicide rates.
  • People experiencing a stressful situation felt less stress while with their pet than when experiencing the same scenario with a friend or family member.
  • Just viewing cat videos boosts the viewer’s energy and positive emotions, while decreasing negative feelings.
  • People — especially women — report better sleep with a cat than a human partner. (Insert your own jokes here, folks.)

I found all of that on the internet, so it has to be true.

What’s more, these health and wellness benefits aren’t just true for cats and dogs. Pet rabbits also offer many of the same health advantages, with an added bonus: Studies have shown rabbit meat is an excellent source of protein.

Ah, but even a pet as disposable as a goldfish can offer certain benefits. Goldfish bowls and aquariums reduce anxiety and lower blood pressure, according to studies.

Clint Thacker is director of Davis County Animal Care and Control in Fruit Heights. He’s been working with animals for 16 years, and he knows how pets can make one feel better.

“I can tell you that I’m the director here, so I’ll just call one of shelter techs and say, ‘Can you bring me something fluffy?'” Thacker says. “So they’ll bring it up and I’ll love a little kitten or a little puppy in my office, and that just reduces my stress.”

They even have a name for the practice around the office, according to Thacker. They call it getting a little “fur time.”

And you, the campaign-weary voter, can get in on this fur time. Right now, dog adoptions at the Davis shelter are $50, which includes sterilization, all vaccines and a microchip. Plus, a dog license if you live in Davis County.

Cats are an even better deal. This month, cat adoptions are free.

“We always have more cats than dogs; cats are hard to move through an animal shelter,” Thacker said. “It’s weird, because cats are very easygoing and easy to take care of ? a lot easier than dogs. Dogs need walking and attention. Cats are, like, ‘You may touch me, you have my permission. Now go away.'”

At any one time, Davis County has about 60 cats and 20 to 25 dogs available for adoption.

“Last month we did 91 cat adoptions,” Thacker said. “That’s the most we’ve ever done in a month. We had cats everywhere — cats in cages in the conference room, in offices, all over the place.”

Not in a position to adopt a pet right now? Consider one of these other options:

1. Window shopping

Thacker says there’s no law against simply browsing, and the shelter has play areas and rooms to interact with the pets.

2. Volunteer

“We have people who come and take the dogs at the shelter for a walk,” Thacker said. “We have a lady who comes and brushes the cats’ fur.”

And you can donate as much or as little time as you’d like.

“It’s all up to the individual,” he said. “Some come once a week for an hour, and we have three hardcore volunteers who come every single day.”

3. Be a foster pet owner

The Davis shelter has a foster program that also needs volunteers. Foster owners take an animal home for a limited time — it might be a dog not doing well in a shelter environment or a sick kitten.

“You have your fix, and then you can return them,” Thacker said.

For more information on any of these great ways to de-stress following the election, call the Davis County Animal Care and Control offices at 801-444-2200.

I’m assuming Weber County Animal Services (801-399-8406) offers similar programs and deals at its shelter, but I was unable to get through to a live representative.

Maybe they were off getting a little much-needed fur time.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272 or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.


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